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Haynes' dedication to Saints in the community rewarded

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins
Haynes was present at the tenth All Party Parliamentary Rugby Union Premiership Rugby Community awards in Westminster recently as coaches, role models, volunteers all came together to recognise the unsung heroes of the game.

Haynes has been leading the community team at Franklin's Gardens for 15 years, and is very aware that she is helping to continue a legacy that can be traced all the way to the club's founding as a boys' improvement class in the late 19th century, a HITZ project of its time.

Using sport to benefit the lives of others is at the heart of the ethos of the Saints' community department's work, but at a club in which every area has to pull its weight in order to ensure that the organisation can continue growing sustainably and successfully Haynes also understands that there needs to be a healthy balance between investment and commercial reality.

This is why the Elite Insurance Sevens Series was born, working with one of the Saints' major sponsors to grow the shortened version of the game in the East of England.

The Elite Insurance Sevens Series, which has grown dramatically and rapidly over the past three years, may have lost out in the battle for the Play Award, but Haynes says that it is an excellent example of community and commercial working together for the good of the sport.

"Year on year, the awards are growing as is the community work we're doing, which is great. All the clubs work in very different ways - our needs are so different," said Haynes who was honoured in Parliament by Premiership Rugby to mark her decade of hard work for Saints in the community.

"Here at Northampton, we're about to declare our 16th year in profit which in a sports environment is quite a good thing to do. As a community department we do contribute to that.

"I've watched kids from the age of six or seven who came to our rugby camps that are now grown men bringing their own kids to the stadium, so it has gone full circle.

"It's good to meet up with the community departments at other clubs - we're as competitive off the field as we are on it, which is very competitive!"

Another example of departments working together is Ross Stewart, who this year marked his tenth working at Franklin's Gardens.

Stewart started as a community coach, but has more recently taken on additional responsibilities within the Saints' Elite Player Development Group system, and at a club in which more and more of the home-grown talent have experienced one of the Saints' community coaching courses, Haynes says that it was natural that there should be this type of cross-over.

"We're pretty unique among Premiership clubs in that Ross' job is 60 per cent in the Academy structure and 40 per cent within the community," added Haynes.

"He works in the 13-16 market identifying the talents that come through to the Academy.

"The likes of Tom Stephenson, Howard Packman and Jordan Onojaife for example all came into contact with the club via community initiatives before going on to join the Academy and earn Saints and England honours.

"We have age groups representing from 13 upwards, so he does a lot of work with the children but a lot of coach education as well.

"Our residential rugby camps that we do are fairly ground-breaking as well. We get a lot of kids from other clubs coming on them who rock up in their Tigers shirts or Saracens shirts but we soon have that off them!"

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